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Sail St Martin – Il Pinel to St Barths

Sail St Martin with MooringsDay 5 of our sail St Martin trip started very early with the anchor alarm going off.

For this sailing trip, since we would be anchoring most nights, I decided to buy a portable GPS unit and install the Anchor! app on my iPad. Anchor! allowed me to set where I dropped the anchor using the GPS device. I then configured a swing radius including the length of my rode and some give. If the boat wandered outside of the range I had set, an alarm would go off.

Il Pinel was the first place I used Anchor! on this trip. Mainly because we were in shallow water (about 6 feet), and there was a small island about 50 feet off our stern. I figured it would make for a bad night if we broke loose and ran aground here. Thanks to my damaged ribs, back, and knee I wasn’t really sleeping when the alarm went off. After a quick check it did not look like we had moved, or had moved enough to worry about. I gave Anchor! a bit more swing room to silence the alarm, and went back to bed.

Using Anchor! On A Moorings 4800

I found that the portable GPS unit had about 8 hours of battery. Once we were set on our anchor and the generator was running I plugged the GPS unit into an outlet inside the galley. This ensured it had power all night, and that the GPS was still providing accurate readings. The iPad connected to the GPS unit via bluetooth. I was able to plug in my iPad in my cabin and still connect to the GPS unit in the galley.

About 6:30a I started to hear people moving around and decided to get up. We ate a quick breakfast, and prepared to head for St Barths. St Barths (or St Barthelemy if you want to be proper about it) was about 18 nautical miles to our southeast. After navigating our way carefully out of Orient Bay we raised our sails and headed toward St Barths.

Unfortunately we did not have great wind for this trip. We were able to maintain about 5 to 5.5 knots so we made progress. It was just much slower than we had gotten used to the rest of the week. After about 3 hours of sailing we passed Il Fourche to port, and decided to lower our sails and motor our way into Anse de Columbier where we planned to stop for the afternoon.

At Anse de Columbier we were able to snag a mooring ball. This little bay had something for everyone– crystal clear water, a nice beach, good snorkeling, and a hiking trail. I went ashore with a small group and enjoyed a nice hike along a trail that led from the beach to out along the eastern side of St Barths.

Sail St Marting - Anse de Columbier Hiking Trail

Hiking Trail at Anse de Columbier

After the hike I joined another group that wanted to go snorkeling. The snorkeling was very good. I saw 2 nurse sharks laying on the bottom, and a turtle headed out to sea. As I was swimming back to the boat I saw a HUGE shark. By huge, I mean 12 to 15 feet long. I believe it was a thresher shark, but honestly I am not much of a shark expert. I do know that it was by far the largest shark I have seen outside of an aquarium. One look at me though and it turned and headed the other direction!

Sail St Martin - Anse de Columbier

Mooring Field at Anse de Columbier

After a late lunch we let loose from the mooring ball and headed for Gustavia where we planned to spend the night. St Barths is very protective of the turtles that live in their waters. If you are within 100 meters of any shoreline the max allowed speed is 5 knots. As we approached Gustavia we radioed ahead to see if there were any spots in the marina. There was not. I had been hoping for at least one night not spent at anchor during the trip.

Gustavia was pretty busy even for the off-season. After some searching we found some space west of the shipping channel to anchor in. The only problem was that we were in pretty deep water. This meant we had to make sure we had the anchor set in the right spot and let out all of our rode. This created a lot of swing potential for our boat so we had to be precise on where we anchored so we would avoid the other boats around us. It took us 2 tries, but we got it right where we wanted it and settled in for the evening.





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